Thursday, April 30, 2009


Not very often you get the opportunity to see in a movie slices of your own life, so definitively whatever movie does it will become a very personal film to you. I believe that the key word for this film is very personal, not only because is an autobiographical portrait by Sylvie Verheyde but also because tells a story that is common to many only child that grows-up among mainly adults and tends to be quiet, lonely and shy, while inside their head a huge world of ideas, desires, wishes, etc. transit and travels.

The above is what Stella, directed and written by Sylvie Verheyde is all about and you have to add a clash of social classes when an 11-year-old girl from a working class family gets the opportunity to go to a higher class high school where she meets Balzac –and others- not necessarily because classes, but because her only friend, the daughter in an Argentinean Jewish family of intellectuals.

Set in 1977 –with great casual period reconstruction- the film follows Stella (Leora Barbara) in the one school year that changed everything for her as she will discover not only a different world, but also will be exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly.

Most impressive is Léora Barbara debut as with expressions and especially the absence of face expressions or actress marvelous inexpressive moments, tells us so much more than with the sparse narrative dialogue and the character non-intrusive narration. Absolutely a very impressive performance that you cannot miss in this movie that totally belongs to the great young actress. Supporting cast is also good and includes Guillaume Depardieu as one of the few adults that took some care of Stella.

The film was screened at the Venice Days section of the 2008 Venice fest where won a Special Award and has been collecting more honors in mainly European fests. Not for all audiences you have to really like French cinema and touchy autobiographical recounts; but if by any chance you’re female, only child, and grew up among mainly adults then this is a must be seen film for you as probably will show you a few slices of your own life.

I enjoyed the movie beyond the personal slices of my life I saw in the film, as not only has great tech specs but also honestly has an outstanding performance by the young actress and a director that is a great storyteller in a very personal story. As such I do recommend this film to many that read the blog.


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